Mike Ashley tells court of '˜forward-looking' approach to life

Former Rangers shareholder and Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley told a High Court judge about his forward-looking philosophy as he countered claims by a finance expert who has sued him.
Billionaire businessman Mike Ashley. Picture: PABillionaire businessman Mike Ashley. Picture: PA
Billionaire businessman Mike Ashley. Picture: PA

Investment banker Jeffrey Blue says the 52-year-old businessman promised to pay him £15 million if he used his expertise to increase Sports Direct’s share price to £8 a share during a night of heavy drinking in a London pub four years ago.

He says Mr Ashley paid only £1 million and he wants £14 million in damages.

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Mr Ashley, who is giving evidence on the fourth day of a High Court trial in London, denies the claim and says Mr Blue is talking “nonsense”.

He says he paid Mr Blue, who he called “Jeffers”, £1 million for “other deals” unrelated to the night at the Horse And Groom pub.

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Mr Ashley has told how he remembered a “night of heavy drinking” with a group of finance specialists at the pub but could not remember the detail of the conversations.

He suggested that he had particular difficulty remembering because he did not spend his life looking back.

“I’m a person who spends 99 per cent of my life looking forward,” he told Mr Justice Leggatt on Thursday. “Not driving in the rear view mirror.”

Mr Ashley said he had been trying to get drunk and “have a good night out” at the Horse And Groom.

He calculated that within an hour he would have drunk four to five pints.

“It was a fun evening, drinking at pace,” he said.

“I like to get drunk. I am a power drinker.”

He added: “My thing is not to drink regularly. It is binge-drinking. I am trying to get drunk.”

Mr Ashley was asked how much Mr Blue had drunk.

“He would never have been able to keep up,” said Mr Ashley.

“He’s a lightweight when it comes to drinking.”

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READ MORE: {http://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/teams/rangers/mike-ashley-vomited-into-fireplace-at-meeting-court-hears-1-4493500|

Mr Ashley has told the judge that Mr Blue’s claim left him incredulous.

“It was a heavy night of drinking,” he has said.

“I find it incredible that Mr Blue is actually suggesting that I made a binding agreement for £15 million.

“It’s nonsense.

“If I did say to Mr Blue that I would pay him £15 million if he could increase (Sports Direct’s) share price to £8, it would be obvious to everyone, including Mr Blue, that I wasn’t being serious.”